A steady line of cars, at times more than a mile long, descended on Rialto City Hall on Saturday, July 18, as part of a free drive-thru food distribution sponsored by the City and the United Sikh Mission.
Volunteers from the City and its police and fire departments loaded up more than 500 carloads of free food to local families – many of them facing ongoing economic struggles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Sikh Mission, which operates one of the largest COVID-related foot relief efforts in Southern California, provided the food and had many of their own volunteers on hand during the distribution at the City Hall parking lot.
“It turned out to be a great event. In times like this especially, it’s important for us to come together as a community and help one another,” said Rialto Mayor Pro Tem Ed Scott, whose idea it was to host the drive-thru after conversations with local members of the Sikh community. “People are struggling. Some have lost their jobs and can’t afford to go to the store. Every little bit helps. If we’re able to provide them some of the staples, it allows them to spend their money on other essentials.”
The event would not have been possible, Scott said, without the support of the United Sikh Mission, and plans are being developed to make it a monthly event. “They really care about our city and want to give back,” Scott said.
He praised the police and fire departments for their volunteer efforts and City Clerk Barbara McGee, who coordinated logistics. Motorists stayed in their cars while volunteers, all with facial coverings, managed an assembly line of boxed and fresh foods. For most of the morning, the line of cars extended from City Hall to Foothill Boulevard and beyond.
“Partnerships like this are so important for our city. We’re so appreciative to the United Sikh Mission. They donated all of this, and we’re getting it to those families in our community who need it,” McGee said.
Scott said he hopes the program will help create an even stronger sense of community in Rialto.
“We’re a good city. People like to live here. To see this happen, and to see people who are just happy, it tells you we’re heading in the right direction,” he said.